• Cock-up means disabled and domestic violence victims must pay
  • Lord Freud promised to fix error “at the earliest opportunity”
  • But ministers U-turn because it “would would be embarrassing

Domestic violence

The government has broken a pledge to exempt many disabled people and victims of domestic violence from the Bedroom Tax on the basis that introducing such dispensations “would cause political embarrassment”.

A drafting error in regulations meant that many vulnerable people in supported housing would have to cough up around £65 per month for a single “spare room” if their care provider was different from their landlord.

In April last year Tory minister Lord Freud wrote to stakeholders:

“It has recently been brought to our attention that much of the existing provision does not meet the precise definition of supported ‘exempt’ accommodation. This has, understandably, caused concern amongst providers.”

“We would like to make clear our intention to protect providers from any unintended consequences … Proposals will be brought forward at the earliest opportunity.”

But Inside Housing now reports that the government has quietly reneged on their promise. A source told the specialist publication:

“the government was opposed to the move because creating more protections from the bedroom tax would cause political embarrassment.”

As he did with users of food banks, perhaps millionaire Lord Freud should tell victims of domestic violence that their need for a refuge is “demand led”?

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